I had 7 or 8 tries in the past two days to install ubuntu 12.04 on my laptop with windows 8 pre-installed. I encountered a series of problems and I found some of them exist in other versions (such as Ubuntu 13.04 with windows 7) systems too.

Here is a list of problems I had:

  1. Since I installed ubuntu 12.04 with a live CD, it wasn't detecting Windows 8, which I believe it should do. Install guide provided two options:

    • Erase the hard drive and install Ubuntu;
    • Other options.
    • (Sometimes also detecting installed ubuntu system while sometimes not.)
  2. After installing Ubuntu, there was no grub menu to choose. And I installed grub-customizer for checking - no entry for windows system as expected apparently for the problem 1.

  3. Install and run boot-repair will fix a part of the problem, but there would be 2 possible results:

    • we get both entries for ubuntu and windows 8, and all seems running well. But after once or twice reboot, computer will show

    "no such disk: xxxx grub rescue>";

    An artical said this happens when enable both EFI mode and Legacy mode then I switched off legacy mode, which didn't help.

    • here we get an entry for windows in grub menu, but no entry for ubuntu anyway.
  4. nvidia-current cannot be installed by system recommend for some reasons (I think) as lack of source/headers by default, so need to run sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic to fix;

My laptop has one hard disk (/dev/sda) and it's not possible to install grub2 by additional command /dev/sda (returns error message). And also reports warning "The boot file is too far from head of disk, your system probably will not detect it", then suggests partition for /boot (which I'm sure I had such one partition).

Now I removed ubuntu from windows, and encountered "grub-rescue" when reboot. Then I rebooted and switched on "secure boot", it boots directly into windows now.

Just for a few more, when installing ubuntu, I had UEFI settings as:

  • Secure boot: disabled;
  • Legacy support: enabled by default, and disabled it after several tries;

So here are my questions:

  1. Why ubuntu install system didn't detect Windows 8? (it also happens in installing version 13.04)

  2. How to fix the problem happens with grub? (replace it or fix it? and why it happened?)

  3. Will it be possible to dual boot ubuntu alongside with windows on exactly one disk?

Thanks a lot.

run "lsblk" in "try ubuntu":


  • Just one question. Are you using Ubuntu 64-bit?
    – Braiam
    Sep 10 '13 at 21:38
  • Yes. Does that trouble? I believe I avoided that simple problem. :)
    – knh190
    Sep 11 '13 at 9:12

Laptops shipping with Windows 8 most probably use UEFI instead of BIOS (here are a bunch of differences).

As I myself have a Lenovo laptop with UEFI, I would recommend first to search for an option in the UEFI menu that would look like "Legacy support". This, in simple words, would make UEFI support BIOS features and solve a lot of problems that may arise. You can enter the UEFI menu just the way you used to enter to BIOS (laptop dependent, try out F2, F1, ESC or DEL keys while booting up - manufacturer logo).

If the above is not the case, you may want to refer to the Ubuntu Wiki UEFI page and try out the various options listed there.

  • +1. According to the information you posted, it seems like turning off Secure boot and just running in Legacy Mode will solve the problems you're seeing. This is the method suggested by the Wiki page. The nVidia problem is a separate issue you can ask another question about.
    – Richard
    Sep 10 '13 at 21:23
  • Thank you, the option for "Legacy support" was enable by default, but I still cannot access correct grub menu then I turned to switch off the option; both didn't work for me. Enable the support will cause two effects, which were no difference under condition of turning it off.
    – knh190
    Sep 10 '13 at 21:29
  • @cloudRunner Can you boot to Ubuntu Live CD/USB, open up a terminal and post the results of the lsblk command? Sep 10 '13 at 21:33
  • I removed ubuntu so had a check with live CD, "try ubuntu", run the command, and I have no idea whether this would be the same. Since comment cannot show screenshots so pls check it in the main. Thanks a lot.
    – knh190
    Sep 11 '13 at 9:05
  • From what I see, I think that your disk has a GPT partition table (someone correct me if I am wrong please). With that in mind, where did you choose to install GRUB when you installed Ubuntu? From what I read here, it has to be installed to /EFI boot. You may find the solution to your problems to this question/answer. Let us know what happened! Regards. Sep 11 '13 at 14:09

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